Monday, February 28, 2022

Earthquake Awareness Month

I had no idea that February was Earthquake Awareness Month until I saw it posted in my NextDoor news feed this evening.  I found a lot of information about it when I googled, including the image above showing that Missouri (where I live now) and Tennessee (my home state) are in this earthquake area.

February 7 is the anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes that struck the central U.S. in the winter of 1811-12.  That's probably why someone chose February as the time to remember and be aware.

Nearly 2,000 small tremors occur each year, according to CUSEC.  That's the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, made up of the states on that map above.  Clockwise from the top left are  Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas). 

Meditating on Monday

There was a moment when Moses had the nerve to ask God what God's name is.  God was gracious enough to answer, and the name God gave is recorded in the original Hebrew as YHWH.  Over time we’ve arbitrarily added an "a" and an "e" in there to get YaHWeH, presumably because we have a preference for vowels.  But scholars and rabbis have noted that the letters YHWH represent breathing sounds, or aspirated consonants.  When pronounced without intervening vowels, it actually sounds like breathing.

YH (inhale), WH (exhale).

So a baby’s first cry, that first breath, speaks the name of God.  A deep sigh calls God's name – or a groan or gasp that is too heavy for mere words.  Even an atheist would speak God's name, unaware that their very breathe is giving constant acknowledgment to God.  Likewise, a person leaves this earth with their last breath, when God’s name is no longer filling their lungs.  So when I can’t utter anything else, is my cry calling out God's name, since being alive means I speak the name of God constantly.

So, is it heard the loudest when I’m the quietest?  In sadness, we breathe heavy sighs.  In joy, our lungs feel almost like they will burst.  In fear we hold our breath and have to be told to breathe slowly to help us calm down.  When we’re about to do something hard, we take a deep breath to find our courage.  Breathing, then, is praising God, even in the hardest moments.  God chose a name that we can’t help but speak every moment we’re alive.  All of us, always, everywhere.  Waking, sleeping, breathing, with the name of God on our lips.

❤️  Thanks to my daughter Sandra for posting this (edited) meditation was written by Sandra Thurman Caporale from the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston.  The graphic artist is unknown.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

A book, a puzzle, good things, and a cartoon

I'm currently reading Zora Neale Hurston's Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" (2018) as part of my TBR 22 in '22 Challenge — since I bought it in 2021, and the idea is to read books I already own.  The book is about Hurston's interviews (in 1927 and 1931) with the only person thought to be still alive to tell the story of being transported across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa to America as a slave.  And by the way, this is also still Black History Month.

The Epigraph of Barracoon is a quote from Hurston's autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road:
"But the inescapable fact that stuck in my craw, was:  my people had sold me and the white people had bought me . . . It impressed upon me the universal nature of greed and glory."
Zora Neale Hurston was a novelist, folklorist, and anthropologist.  She was the author of four novels (Jonah's Gourd Vine, 1934; Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937; Moses, Man of the Mountain, 1939; and Seraph on the Suwanee, 1948); two books of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935; and Tell My Horse, 1938); an autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942); and more than fifty short stories, essays, and plays.  She attended Howard University, Barnard College, and Columbia University, and graduated from Barnard College in 1927.  She was born on January 7, 1891, in Notasulga, Alabama, and grew up in Eatonville, Florida.  She died in Fort Pierce, Florida, in 1960.  In 1973, Alice Walker had a headstone placed at Hurston's grave site with this epitaph:  Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South.

Here's a puzzle for you.  Find the Volkswagen bug.  I did.
I found it nestled among the snails and the mushrooms.  If
you want help, ask and I'll post the location in the comments.

I used to have a Volkswagen bug.  My VW beetle looked a lot like these.  I forget the exact year of  mine, but I think late 1960s.  Though VW called it Bahama Blue, I always thought it 
looked more greenish, like the first one.

This one is VW's own example of Bahama Blue.  You decide if it looks blue or green.  Is that, maybe, the color of the sea around the Bahamas?

Good Thing #1
Being friends with Dora
(We'll be having lunch together on Wednesday.)

Good Thing #2
Being friends with Emma
(We had lunch together last Tuesday.)

Good Thing #3?
Being friends with Lauree
(We had lunch together last Wednesday.)

Like Calvin, I'm willing to help Hobbes do nothing at all.  Wanna join us?

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Black cat at the window

It looks like Clawdia (my little black cat) has been moonlighting as a model.

Friday, February 25, 2022

The situation in Ukraine

Shana Peltzer:
My beautiful city of Kyiv, Ukraine.  Taken a week ago.
I’m so scared.  I just want peace 😭

This was posted in the Facebook group
Snapshots of the World 🌎
on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022 at 1:41 a.m.
My heart breaks for the frightened Ukrainians.

Beginning ~ at the airport


John F. Kennedy Airport, New York
Tuesday, February 22
The Day of the Crash

Chapter 1 ~ Claire

Monday, February 21
The Day Before the Crash

Look at the dates above.  I was reading this book on Tuesday, February 22nd!  I got this book from the library almost three weeks ago, but didn't know how it began until I started reading it on Monday. the 21st, so that I could return it to the library by Thursday.  Wow!  What are the odds of matching the dates?

The Last Flight ~ by Julie Clark, 2020, psychological fiction, 312 pages, 8/10

Two women.  Two flights.  One last chance to disappear.  You might know a husband like Claire's.  Ambitious, admired, with deep pockets.  But behind closed doors, he has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he's not above using his staff to track Clare's every move.  What he doesn't know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport brings her together with a woman who seems equally desperate to flee her life.  Together, they make a last minute decision to switch tickets — Claire taking Eva's flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire.  But when the Puerto Rico plane crashes, Claire realizes it's no longer a head start but a new life.  Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva's identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Books donated to the C.C. library

Talk Before Sleep ~ by Elizabeth Berg, 1994, fiction, 9/10
I've read it twice, and I rated it 9/10 both times, an excellent book.

The Midnight Library ~ by Matt Haig, 2020, fiction, 288 pages, 8/10
This is a very good book that I got from Donna and read recently.

I enjoyed both of these books, so I donated them to the Crown Center library.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

2's day ~ Feb. 22, 2022 is 2/22/22

I've been using TWOsday for quite awhile now,
but this is a ridiculous number of TWOs.
And look at the TIME stamp below = 2:22 a.m.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Two famous paintings

My friend Jean showed The Blue Boy on Facebook, and there was a comment by someone else who said she'd grown up with that famous painting and Pinkie.  I grew up with both of those paintings, too.  They were in the living room of the house on Fifth Avenue (where I lived until I was almost nine) and had been there since the house had belonged to my grandmother.  I hadn't thought of these two paintings in years.  By the way, Pinkie was painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence in 1794, and The Blue Boy was painted by Thomas Gainsborough around 1770.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sunday salon ~ books and stories

I want a book holder like this!  Whoever designed it is a genius.
I don't like that cup over the books, but I always have a bottled drink
and keep the top screwed on when I'm not actually drinking.

I'm sure this is over-simplified, but I like the thought.
I'm a girl (okay, an elderly girl), and I want
more than "just the facts, ma'am" in the stories I read.

We Turn to Face the Sun ~ by Stephanianna Lozito, 2022, fiction, 295 pages

To what lengths would a person go to cope with trauma?  Jennifer Rossi — a 35-year-old professor who is tormented and exhausted by a broken and painful relationship with her younger sister, Tara — takes the reader on an unexpected journey as she tackles this question and all its unanticipated outcomes.  When Jennifer receives shocking news about Tara, she begins a quest to uncover answers she may not want to find.  As Jennifer learns more about her sister, she becomes more alone and confused.  Jennifer must face up to her complicated relationship with Tara — or lose herself in the process.

This is the latest book I've downloaded onto my Kindle.  It looks good, so I plan to start this one next, after I finish Finding Samuel Lowe that I'm reading now:

Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem ~ by Paula Williams Madison, 2015, memoir, 301 pages

This powerful debut tells the story of Paula Williams Madison's Chinese grandfather, Samuel Lowe.  He became romantically involved with a Jamaican woman, Paula's grandmother, and they lived together modestly with their daughter in his Kingston dry goods store, Chiney Shop.  His Chinese soon-to-be wife arrived in 1920 to set up a "proper" family.  When he requested to take his three-year-old daughter with him, Paula's jealous grandmother made sure that Lowe never saw his child again.  That began an almost one-hundred-year break in their family.

Years later, the arrival of her only grandchild raising questions about family and legacy, Paula decided to search for Samuel Lowe's descendants in China.  With the support of her brothers and the help of encouraging strangers, a determined Paula eventually pieced together her grandfather's life, following his story from China to Jamaica and back.  Using old documents, digital records, and referrals from the insular and interrelated Chinese-Jamaican community, she found three hundred long-lost relatives in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, China.  She even located documented family lineage that traces back three thousand years to 1006 BC.  This book is a remarkable journey about one woman's path to self-discovery and a beautiful reflection of the power of family.

After failing, I tried it with my LEFT foot and RIGHT hand and could do it that way.  But I'm still asking myself, "Why, why, why???"

Today's laugh

Where do bad rainbows go?  Prism, but it's a light sentence.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Okay, word people, this is for you

Today is Caturday!

Read the list of books below (a list I found online), and tell me which title gives you the biggest chuckle.  I really like the first one, and the second one made me think of my Clawdia Cat.  Have I ever mentioned she's my little panther?

  • How to Write Big Books ~ by Warren Peace
  • The Lion Attack ~ by Claude Yarmoff
  • The Art of Archery ~ by Beau N. Arrow
  • Songs for Children ~ by Barbara Blacksheep
  • Irish Heart Surgery ~ by Angie O'Plasty
  • Desert Crossing ~ by I. Rhoda Camel
  • School Truancy ~ by Marcus Absent
  • I Was a Cloakroom Attendant ~ by Mahatma Coate
  • I Lost My Balance ~ by Eileen Dover and Phil Down
  • Mystery in the Barnyard ~ by Hu Flung Dung
  • Positive Reinforcement ~ by Wade Ago
  • Shhh! ~ by Danielle Soloud
  • The Philippine Post Office ~ by Imelda Letter
  • Things to Do at a Party ~ by Bob Frapples
  • Stop Arguing ~ by Xavier Breath

Friday, February 18, 2022

Beginning ~ at her desk


Alice sat at her desk in their bedroom distracted by the sounds of John racing through each of the rooms on the first floor.  She needed to finish her peer review of a paper submitted to the Journal of Cognitive Psychology before her flight, and she'd just read the same sentence three times without comprehending it.

Still Alice ~ by Lisa Genova, 2007, literary fiction (Massachusetts), 320 pages, 9/10

Feeling at the top of her game when she is suddenly diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease, Harvard psychologist Alice Howland struggles to find meaning and purpose in her everyday life as her concept of self gradually slips away.  Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build.  At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children.  When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life — and her relationship with her family and the world — forever.  As she struggles to cope with Alzheimer’s, she learns that her worth is comprised of far more than her ability to remember.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts

  Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

That's amore ... a moray ... some more hay?

Okay, enough with the puns for today.  Maybe I'll take a nap now ... or read.

Thursday thoughts

I'd be reading, of course!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Words ~ are any of these new for you?

hoe·down /ˈhōˌdoun / noun North American = a social gathering at which lively folk dancing takes place.  Similar to party, shindig, hootenanny, bash, jamboree, barn dance, fête, celebration.  Example:  "Am I too old to join my friends for a hoedown?"

shin·dig /ˈSHinˌdiɡ / noun INFORMAL = a large, lively party, especially one celebrating something.  Example:  "I always have lots of fun at any shindig she sponsors."
hoot·en·an·ny /ˈho͞otnˌanē / noun INFORMAL in United States = an informal gathering with folk music and sometimes dancing.  Example:  "We invited friends to a hootenanny in our neighborhood."

cat·​ty·​wam·​pus / variant spelling of CATAWAMPUS = cat·​a·​wam·​pus / adjective = askew, awry, cater-cornered.  Example:  "His face went all cattywampus because he was still confused."

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Food for thought

I didn't know this, but now I'll think of its historical origins
every time I eat a hush puppy.

What do you think of this "pizza"?  Would you take a bite?
FYI #1:  I looked up "UWS" and got Upper West Side (of Manhattan).
FYI #2:  And if you don't know, "soup du jour" means "soup of the day."

Monday, February 14, 2022

Wonder Woman

I posted this Wonder Woman with gray hair and wrinkles in 2019.

Sunday, February 13, 2022


I just found this photo of Donna in a May 2021 email.

Let's laugh

But first, a daffodil blooming in Gatlinburg, Tennessee,
on Friday (2-11-22), while we still have snow on the ground in St. Louis.
Thanks to Barbara Clark for the photo posted on Facebook.

Now, a blonde joke for my daughter.
(Do you still collect them, Barbara?)

Words (and books) are always on my mind.  I thought of this poem when I read the word "raze" in The Midnight Library (p. 156).  Words having the same pronunciation but different meanings are called homophones.  I read "raze" and immediately thought of the homophone "raise."  When people raise a barn (as in having a barn raising), they are constructing that barn; but when they raze the barn, they are tearing it down.

I did finally find a book that grabbed me enough to finish it:  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, that I mentioned above (2020, fiction, 288 pages, 8/10).  
Next, I'll read the 2021 novel Fresh Scars by Donna Mumma (305 pages).  I've also started reading this booklet that belonged to my friend Donna, who taught middle school English:

Character Education Journal Topics ~ by Terri Simpson and Jodie Priess, 2001, nonfiction.  It has 200 bookmark-sized pages of writing prompts related to character education for students in grades 4-8.  The  illustration shows one of the prompts.

Dovetail ~ by Karen McQuestion, 2020, fiction, 353 pages

Joe Arneson’s ordinary life is upended by troubling dreams of himself as a different man in another place and time.  It isn’t until he visits his estranged grandmother, Pearl, in her Wisconsin hometown that a startling connection emerges.  Drawn into his family’s past, Joe discovers secrets weighing on the old woman’s soul:  the tragic death of her sister Alice a half century ago and its ripple effect on all who loved her.  Digging into the events of that summer in 1916, Joe is convinced that his recurrent visions relate to Alice’s untimely passing and to the beloved man she meant to marry.  With the help of Kathleen, a local woman Joe’s fallen for, the puzzles of the past start falling into place.  As uncovered truths bring Joe and Kathleen closer together, they also reveal a new danger.  Joe’s dreams may be a warning ― from one star-crossed couple to another.

I added this new book to my Kindle recently, partly because I like a comment that it "was written without profanity and gratuitous violence and sex."  Do you remember my comment about the gratuitous 4-letter words in Carl Hiaasen's Squeeze Me?  It was very annoying.

Deb at Readerbuzz hosts Sunday Salon.